Questing the Hero


Predating all organized religions, shamanism is, unto itself, not a religion. Because shamans adhere to a belief that there is a direct connection between healing and the spiritual world it is easy to equate shamanism as a religion. It does not have a prescribed written dogma, holy books, or spiritual leaders as have organized religions.

Shaman and shamanka (the female counterpart) act as an intermediary between the natural world and the spiritual world. Despite some claims, shamanism is not a cult. Admittedly, some have linked themselves in a cult-like fashion to some of the fundamental shamanistic practices. It appears the interest in these cases have been the use of hallucinogenic drugs.  It's questionable that such drugs actually bring about an understanding of reality or the use of their energy to heal someone.

A shaman communes with the spiritual world for several reasons. Among these, the primary one, is to heal a sick soul. Others include the reading of the future, asking for success in specific endeavors, or to function as a psychopomp. Whatever it is that is to be accomplished, the shaman connects with the axis mundi to create a special relationship with the Spirits and in some instances, actually gain control over them. Despite rumors and myths, generally speaking, a practitioner of shamanism is not involved in bringing about harm or evil to someone.

Shamanism is not a specific set of beliefs that are inculcated in an organized uniform system throughout the world. This does not mean there are not similarities. The primary similarity being a recognition of a spiritual world and the existence of spirits. Specific ceremonies, chants, and training are not held on a universal plane, for example,  as is the offering of the Holy Eucharist Christianity.

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